Sandwell test paper maker secures funding to boost growth

Oldbury-based specialist test paper manufacturer Johnson Test Papers recently secured a £460,000 funding package from its banking partner of over 15 years, Lloyds Bank.


Part of the funding was used to double the size of the firm’s premises and purchase new machinery following a 25 per cent increase in demand for its products over the past year, from customers both in the UK and overseas.

Johnson Test Papers, which featured as one of our #madeinsandwell Monday stars back in November last year, manufactures paper test strips for pH testing, water analysis, production processes, and measurements of special food parameters. It currently exports its products to laboratories and environmental firms in more than 45 countries worldwide.

Established in 1938, the Sandwell firm has been manufacturing easy-to-use rapid tests for over 80 years and has established itself as a reputable supplier in many sectors, including education, healthcare, environmental, industrial, food and beverage, and cosmetics.

In 2018, the Think Sandwell regeneration and business growth team supported the business to get a Black Country Transformational GOLD (BCT GOLD) grant to help install a new laboratory. BCT GOLD was a grant scheme funded by the European Regional Development Fund, providing match-funded grants to SMEs in key sectors, with the aim of helping them implement projects to transform their businesses, boost growth and create jobs.

Due to the growth over the past few years, the business had outgrown its site and needed to expand in order to keep up with increased orders. Using part of the Lloyds funding acquired, it increased its premises size by purchasing two adjacent buildings to its original site, enabling it to double its manufacturing and storage space.

An asset finance facility enabled the company to purchase two specialist coating and cutting machines to boost capacity by 50 per cent.

As it continues to grow, the business is looking to recruit six new members of staff to its current team of 15. The investment is also expected to increase annual turnover by almost 20 per cent in the next few years. Current annual turnover is around £1.5m.

For information and advice about securing funding for your business please head on over to our Access to finance page. If you would like to find out about new GOLD funding that is available (AIM for GOLD) please get in touch with us via our Contact page.